Stables & Car Houses

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Stables and Car Houses – 1863-1892

         It has not been possible to get a full picture of all the stables and car houses used for horses and streetcars during the horsecar era. Some small companies like the State & Oak Street Railroad Co. may not have had their own facility but, rather used a commercial stable of which there were many in 19th century Columbus.
         More investigation needs to be done to discover the full picture. However, here is what may be only a partial list of stables and car houses.

The Dominant Companies

         University Street Car Barn and Stable. Located on High Street just north of University Street (later Poplar Street). Just north of Union Depot this was the first stable location for the Columbus Street Railway Co. It was used from about 1863 to 1873. Before the horsecar tracks were allowed to cross the Union Depot tracks on High Street it was reported that the cars were pulled bouncing over the steam road tracks to get on the other side.
         It was reported in the early days “that there wasn’t two-dozen houses north of the old car stables. In the rear of the Congregational Church and extending into what is now the lawns of Park Street residences was a great pond into which men employed at the car stables dumped hundreds of loads of refuse.” (Note, this was written in 1891)
         South High Car House and Stable. In 1873 a new car house and stable was constructed on the east side of S. High Street at Beck Street (556 South High Street) to replace the University Street facility. This site would evolve and continue to be used through the electric streetcar era.
         An article from the November 20, 1873, Columbus Dispatch described the new South High Street facility as follows:

The High Street railroad company has transferred its horses, cars, accoutrements in general, and superintendent’s head quarters to the south part of the city, a short distance south of South Public Lane [Livingston Ave], on the east side of High street. A great depression in the ground at that point below the surface of High street, has made the spot available for double decked accommodations; the cars and hay, and feed cutting apparatus above, and the horses below. The barn stands back from the High street about forty feet. A platform leading from the level of the street to the second floor of the barn serves to transfer cars to shelter, and the horses reach their apartment by passing down an inclined plane from the second floor. The feed cutting machine on the second floor is run by horsepower below. There are accommodations for about forty horses. A blacksmith shop stands by the barn, where a man is constantly employed in shoeing horses and performing other labor connected with ironwork about the cars, buildings and road. A small brick house has been erected on the lot, in front of the barn and a little to one side of it, fronting on High street, for the use of a family or families of employees. Another like building will be erected next spring, the track leading from the street to the barn passing between the two. The lower stories of these houses, being below the surface of High street, open back toward the barn, and will be partly occupied for road use. They are two stories above the basement. The barn is not as substantial as the one vacated on North High street. It is made of the old car shed which was transferred from that place, and will be improved from time to time as circumstances will permit, and necessity require.

         Chittenden Ave Car House and Stables. Located at High Street and Chittenden Ave this car house and stables was reputed, in some articles, to be the replacement for the University Street stables. In actuality the company had grown so much it needed to be able to dispatch horsecars from both ends of High Street. It was probably built some time after 1875.
         We know the second floor or part of the second floor was used as a boarding house for employees. In February 1891 the facility was destroyed by fire along with 25 cars. It was not rebuilt as the Rose Ave facility was able to provide the needed replacement capacity.
         Rose Ave Car House and Stable. Located south of Franklin Park at Rose Ave (later Kelton Ave.) and Oak Street the land was purchased by the Columbus Consolidated Street Railway Co in 1883. This facility would eventually become the main shops for the electric streetcar era. In 2010 some of the electric era buildings are still standing.

The Small Companies

         Broad Street Car House and Stable. Located at Broad Street and Glenwood Ave. this facility was built in 1875 by the Glenwood and Green Lawn Railroad Co. It would be taken over by the Consolidated Co. in 1892 and serve through the trolley coach era.
         In 2006 some of the buildings are still standing, used by American Electric Power as a service garage.
         Main Street Stables (Friend Street Car Barns). This facility is mentioned in an article about the Chittenden Ave stable fire as having had a major fire in 1888. This may have been the stables for the Friend Street Railway Company. It is also mentioned in an 1892 article stating that the property transferred to the Columbus Street Railway Company. It did not last as a car barn into the electric streetcar era.
         Monroe Avenue Stables. This facility was located on the south side of Long Street between Albert Street (Garfield Ave) and Monroe Ave. It served the East Park Place Street Railroad Co. and did not last into the electric streetcar era.